Member-only content

Washing machine reviews

We’ve tested more than 60 washing machines, including models from Bosch, Electrolux, Fisher & Paykel, LG, Miele, Samsung, Simpson and Westinghouse.
 
Learn more
 
 
 
 
 

01 .Introduction

Which washing machine is right for you?

We take the guesswork out of buying washing machines by putting them through their paces in our laboratories.

Through our rigorous testing we reveal which models, including those from big brands such as Bosch, Fisher & Paykel, LG, Miele, Samsung and Simpson:

  • clean your clothes best
  • rinse detergents most thoroughly
  • use less water and energy
  • are gentle on your clothes
  • use hot and cold connections, and
  • give you the fastest normal wash time.

In this update:

  • We include more than 60 washers, ranging in price from $329 to $2799.
  • We give our what to buy recommendations.
  • We calculate running costs based on a national survey. Check out our energy policy campaign
    for more.
  • You'll find all currently available results in our comparison table and also discontinued models.
  • You can purchase your machine through our website with our Price and Buy function, or just use it to get an idea of the price differences in the marketplace.

On this page, you'll find:

Video: How we test: washing machines

CHOICE's Whitegoods Team Lead, Matthew Steen, explains why part loads provide a more accurate indication of machine performance.

A washing machine is a big investment

Our report will save you money for years to come, and goes beyond the sales hype to reveal:

  • which of the less expensive models perform best
  • how to save hundreds of dollars on running costs every year, and
  • which brands need the fewest repairs.

Choose the right type of washing machine

Use this report to decide whether a front loader or top loader is best for you, what optional features you need, and what you can do without.  

Models tested

Front loader

  • AEG L77480FL
  • Ariston AQ9L29U.1 #
  • Asko W6884
  • Beko WMB81641LC
  • Bosch WAE24463AU
  • Bosch WAP24160AU
  • Bosch WAP24261AU
  • Bosch WAS28461AU
  • Bosch WAY32540AU #
  • Electrolux EWF12832
  • Electrolux EWF14742
  • Electrolux EWF14912
  • Fisher & Paykel WH7560J1
  • Fisher & Paykel WH8560J1
  • Haier HWM80-1403D #
  • Hoover DYN 9166P #
  • Hoover VHD8144D
  • LG WD12021D6
  • LG WD14022D6 #
  • LG WD14024D6
  • LG WD14070SD6
  • LG WD14130D6
  • Miele W1913
  • Miele W5741
  • Miele W5873
  • Miele W5903
  • Panasonic NA-140VG3
  • Panasonic NA-148VG3
  • Samsung WF1104XAC
  • Siemens WM16Y890AU
  • Simpson SWF10732
  • Simpson SWF85562 #
  • Whirlpool WFS1055CD
  • Whirlpool WFS1073DD
  • Whirlpool WFS1274CD

Top loader

  • Fisher & Paykel MW513
  • Fisher & Paykel MW60 #
  • Fisher & Paykel WA70T60FW1
  • Fisher & Paykel WA70T60GW1
  • Fisher & Paykel WA80T65FW1
  • Fisher & Paykel WA80T65GW1
  • Fisher & Paykel WL1068P1
  • Fisher & Paykel WL80T65CW2
  • Haier HWMP55-918
  • Haier HWMP65-918
  • Haier HWMP95TL #
  • LG WF-T6571
  • LG WT-H550
  • LG WT-H650
  • LG WT-H6506 #
  • LG WT-H750
  • LG WT-H7506 #
  • LG WT-H9556
  • LG WT-R10856
  • Midea MB45
  • Samsung WA65F5S2
  • Samsung WA70F5G4
  • Samsung WA75F5S6
  • Samsung WA80F5G4
  • Simpson SWT954
  • Speed Queen AWNA62
  • Whirlpool 6AWTW5700XW

# Newly tested models.

Note: We regularly test washing machines and add them to our existing list of tested models.


Discontinued models

Front loader

  • Asko W6444
  • Beko WMB71231LA
  • Bosch WAE20262AU
  • Bosch WAE22462AU
  • Bosch WAE24272AU
  • Bosch WAS24460AU
  • Electrolux EWF1074
  • Electrolux EWF10831
  • Electrolux EWF12821
  • Electrolux EWF14811
  • Fisher & Paykel WH60F60WV1
  • Fisher & Paykel WH70F60WV1
  • Fisher & Paykel WH80F60WV1
  • Haier HWM70-1203D
  • LG WD11020D1
  • LG WD13020D1
  • LG WD14030D6
  • LG WD14060D6
  • Miele W5835
  • Samsung WF1804WPC
  • Samsung WF756UMSAWQ
  • Samsung WF0754W7V
  • Samsung WF1702XEC
  • Samsung WF1752WPC
  • Samsung WF8750LSW1
  • Simpson SWF10761
  • Simpson SWF8556

Top loader

  • LG WT-H550
  • LG WT-H800
  • Samsung SW65V9W- recalled
  • Samsung SW70SP- recalled
  • Samsung SW75V9W- recalled
  • Samsung SW80SP - recalled
  • Samsung WA455DRHDWR
  • Samsung WA5471ABP
  • Simpson SWT554
  • Simpson SWT604
  • Simpson SWT704
  • Simpson SWT801

How we test

How do we choose the models we test?

We get details from manufacturers about their models, then use marketing information listing the most popular sellers to help us make our selection. Most of our washing machine tests are also done for our sister organisation in New Zealand, so models that are available in both countries are often chosen. Our buyers then go out to stores and buy them.

How do we choose the program we run to test the machine?

Over the years we've received many member responses to our product use surveys, which ask about what programs you use. Because of your feedback, CHOICE uses a set of testing criteria that generally involves a normal, cold wash. When this doesn't exist on a machine, we use the closest approximation to a normal, cold wash. Because of this selection, you'll sometimes see differences between what the energy and water labels say on the machine and our results. This is because manufacturers try to get as good an energy and water label as possible, because the more stars they have, the better the chance a consumer will buy their product. Unfortunately, often this means the program the manufacturer selects is not what consumers will choose at home.

How do we test washing machines?

Our lab testers subject all washing machines to the same round of rigorous scientific tests. First, using a normal cold-water wash cycle, they test each machine to see how it shifts tough stains from specially prepared cloths that have been attached to a standard wash-set of linen. After the wash cycle has finished, the testers use a special machine to examine each cloth to see how much light is reflected from each stain, which allows them to calculate how much dirt has been removed. This machine is more sensitive than the human eye: differences of 6% or more in the dirt removal scores are visible.

What makes up the overall score?
  • Dirt removal (40%)
  • Rinse performance (20%)
  • Water efficiency (15%)
  • Spin efficiency (10%)
  • Gentleness (15%)

Since most Australians wash in cold water, we apply a small penalty in our overall score to models that can’t do a proper cold wash (at about 20ºC) on their "normal" cycle. While the higher wash temperature might slightly increase a machine’s scores for dirt removal and rinse effectiveness, it also means it’s using more electricity than it would if it were able to do a true "cold" wash: our penalty compensates for this. We still connect both hot and cold connections if they are available.

What we measure

  • Rinse performance This is a measure of how well the machines keep the dirt suspended in the water rather than depositing it back on the clothes, and how well they rinse out the detergent — our testers add a marker chemical to the wash. At the end, they take a sample of the water remaining in the clothes to determine the amount of chemical that’s left — the less there is, the better the rinse.
  • Water efficiency Water flow meters are connected to each machine to measure water use. To compare efficiency between different-sized machines, we calculate the amount of water used per kilogram of the test load of washing. The lower the water consumption per kilogram of clothing, the higher the efficiency score.
  • Spin efficiency The test load is weighed before and after each wash. The higher the score, the more water is removed, which means the washing takes less time (and energy, if you use a dryer) to dry. We use the maximum spin speed (some machines let you vary the speed).
  • Gentleness To check for fabric wear, we attach swatches of easily frayed fabric to the garments in each load. The area of the swatch is measured before and after the wash – the less fraying, the gentler the machine is assessed to be and the higher the score it’s given.
  • Noise levels The maximum noise level is recorded during the spin cycle and is measured one metre away from the machine and one metre above the ground. Typically, the noise level of these machines is similar to that of a normal conversation (about 65dB). It’s not an absolute noise measurement – the acoustics of your home will determine exactly how a machine sounds in use – but it’s a good comparative measure.
  • Energy efficiency According to 2008 data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 74% of Australians use cold water in their washing machines, and CHOICE’s own 2013 survey similarly found that 54% of subscribers use a cold-wash program in their homes. So we test with cold water to better reflect consumer habits.
  • A major effect of washing in cold water is that the machines use a lot less energy, as they don’t have to heat the water (or your hot water system doesn’t have to do it for them). So energy efficiency is no longer considered in the overall score.
  • Durability Durability testing is a very long and costly process, so by the time we get results for a model, it probably won’t be on the market. Instead, we ask our readers whether they’ve had any problems with their washers, and whether they’d buy the same brand again. To see which brands fared best, go to the appliance reliability article.
How do you estimate the running costs?

This is an estimate of how much it will cost you over 10 years (the average life of a washing machine) for water and electricity, if you wash the equivalent of one load every day using a normal cycle. The calculations are based on 26c per kWh for electricity and $2 per 1000L for water. For simplicity, we’ve excluded depreciation, interest costs (if you borrow to buy the machine), and the cost of detergent – people use different amounts and the price varies considerably between brands.

What’s a ‘recommended retail price’?

This is supplied by the manufacturer and is what they recommend stores charge. You can often get a better price than this by shopping around or using CHOICE Shopper or the Compare Prices next to each tested model in the results table.

For more information and for similar product reviews, see Washing and drying - part of our Laundry and cleaning section.
 

 
 
 

08.Detergent residue and rough towels

 

Detergent residue

Following reports by concerned members that their water-efficient washing machines left detergent residue on their clothes, we decided to recreate the problem in our labs to work out how to deal with it.

The problem arises because some of the insoluble ingredients in detergents and some dirt don’t get washed out when used with a low-water program. Normal CHOICE testing doesn’t pick this up because the standard rinse performance test measures the soluble component of detergent that’s left in the water after rinsing, not the insolubles. Also, our wash load is made up of white items (to best check the wash performance), which don’t show up detergent residue well.

Our testers used various detergents for the test, washing black items in two water-efficient machines (the Fisher & Paykel Aquasmart WLT70T60C and the Miele W1712), to see which produced the least residue:

  • A powder detergent that was a poor performer in our last test.
  • A high-performing powder, both new and in a humidified state (simulating a packet having been open for a while).
  • High-performing clear top- and front-loading liquid detergents.

Only the high-performing liquid detergent didn’t leave any residue on our test load. Alternatively, using half the recommended dose of the high-performance laundry powder, dissolved in warm water, also reduced the problem (our powder detergent test on the top-performing product showed that using between a half and quarter dose still produces a very good wash). Our testing has found that liquid detergent doesn’t wash quite as well as powders. But if, like most people, your wash load isn’t very dirty to start with, either option should get rid of detergent residue without compromising on wash performance.

Our testers also ran the Aquasmart on a "traditional" wash – which uses twice the amount of water of the high-efficiency wash – and no residue was left behind. However, this defeats the purpose of buying a water-saving model in the first place.

We also asked the manufacturers about this issue.

What manufacturers said

Fisher & Paykel agreed that using a good-quality liquid detergent will reduce residue. They told us the problem tends to happen with very water-efficient machines, if you’re using poor-quality or old detergent – and living in an area with very hard water can exacerbate the problem. They also suggested not buying detergent in bulk, because once opened it absorbs moisture, which lowers performance and can cause residue problems. As a last resort, Fisher & Paykel suggests switching to warm water washing, or a "traditional" wash.

Miele says they don't receive complaints of this nature, but if you have experienced this problem they recommend choosing a wash program with a temperature of at least 30°C, which enables the detergent to dissolve. If you wash in cold, dissolving the powder in warm water first before pouring into the detergent dispenser is recommended; alternatively, use a good-quality liquid detergent. (This is why Miele doesn't have a cold wash setting for all programs. Miele's cold setting will still heat to 24°C on models that offer this setting in selected programs. The only Miele model that offers a true cold setting in the "cottons" program is the W 3985 WPS).

Miele also says that a white powder residue left on dark clothing is not detergent residue but rather zeolite, a mineral now used in place of phosphates to soften water. Look out for a powder without zeolites to prevent this residue being left behind on dark garments.

Liquid detergents do not contain zeolites and are effective in hard water areas. Miele recommends using the "dark garments" program, which has been designed not to leave this residue behind. Alternatively, a "minimum iron" or "automatic" program is also recommended, as these use more water in the wash and rinse process.

Other things that help:

  • Store detergent in an airtight container to prevent it becoming clumpy, which can make the problem worse.
  • Try putting the residue-affected clothes in a dryer on the "air-dry" setting (that is, without heat, just using the fan) for five minutes. Some people have found this helps knock off the residue.

Update on Aquasmart 2

We tested the Fisher & Paykel Aquasmart in 2007 and found it performed well. However, members told us they experienced detergent residue being left behind when using this machine due to the small amount of water it used in the wash.

We tested for this, making suggestions on how to combat the fault without having to rerun the machine, and removed it from our What to Buy recommendations. We tested its replacement, the Fisher & Paykel WL80T65CW2 Aquasmart 2, running a few additional cycles to see whether it left residue behind on black clothing from the detergent. We found it doesn’t, most probably from its increased water usage. We still don't recommend it for overall performance, however.

Scratchy towels

Unfortunately, another downside of front loaders (and water-efficient top loaders, for that matter) is that they often produce stiff, rough or scratchy towels. That’s because the clothes are generally tumbling through just a little water rather than floating through lots of it, like in an older-style top loader. And to get the fibres nicely fluffed up, the clothes must be immersed in water.

Another reason could be that your front loader is in fact too water efficient, in that it uses too little water for the rinse, leaving detergent residues in the wash. This is where we can help you choose a machine that’s good at rinsing while still being water efficient – the water rating labels only tell you water use, not rinse efficiency.

Short of drying your towels for hours in an energy-guzzling clothes dryer to get them soft, you can try the following to help reduce their scratchy, flat effect.

  • Add an extra rinse to your towels wash.
  • Use a gentler program that uses more water.
  • Lower the spin speed. Higher spin speeds tend to flatten the fibres and line drying doesn't fluff them back up, making them feel hard.
  • Add half to one cup of white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser (don’t be tempted to use fabric softener, as this will lower the fabric’s ability to absorb water).
  • Shake your towels out vigorously, or put them in the dryer on the cooling cycle for a few minutes before hanging them out to dry.
  • Take them off the line when still a little damp and dry them off in the dryer.

Miele's recommendation for this problem is to:

  • Use the "cottons" program with "water plus" option and reduce the spin speed, or alternatively use the "automatic" program.
  • Use a good-quality liquid detergent for front loaders as well as fabric conditioner in the final rinse – Miele has found that good-quality fabric conditioners won't reduce the absorbency of the towels. Miele doesn't recommend the use of vinegar in the final rinse as its acidic nature can damage rubber components in the washing machine over time. If your laundry is stained, then add a liquid stain remover, such as Napisan Inwash liquid, to boost the efficiency of the detergent. 
  • Shake out the towels before putting them on the line or, alternatively, put them in the dryer on a cool setting for 10 minutes before hanging on the line. The tumbling action of the dryer will fluff the fibres back up, and minimal energy is used as the heating element is not switched on.

If you've had either of these problems, we'd love to hear about it in our comments section on how you deal with it and what works for you.

11.Best choices for those with a disability

 

We've based the following guidelines on information from the Independent Living Centre (NSW):

If you’re in a wheelchair or have back problems

  • A front loader is generally easier to access. You can have it mounted on a raised surface to avoid bending (see Raising front loaders off the floor), or load and unload it while sitting down.
  • Controls at the front of the machine are easier to access than at the back.
  • Check the door is easy to open: one with a wide opening and that opens to a full 180 degrees is easier to load and unload.
  • If you prefer a top loader, a smaller-capacity model with a shallow bowl may be easier to reach into and unload.
  • A combination washer/dryer, though expensive, could save you some loading and unloading. However, their drying capacity is less than the full wash capacity, so you still have to do two drying loads or dry some of the washing elsewhere.

If you have an upper limb impairment

  • Look for one-touch start, keypad controls that are easy to press, and programming – like a "favourite cycle" function – that minimises the need to use your hands.
  • Look for a big door handle.
  • Rotary controls can be difficult to turn if you lack hand strength – electronic pushbuttons are easier.
  • Check detergent and fabric dispensers are easy to pull out (or uncover), fill and clean.
  • If you have a hand tremor, look for large knobs to grasp.

If you have a problem with vision

  • Labels and controls will be easier to use if they’re large, raised above the surface and have good contrast - black or dark-coloured writing on white is easiest to read.
  • Large knobs, buttons and handles are likely to be easier to use.
  • Generally, fewer programming options are better, though "favourite cycle" functions, as on Fisher & Paykel machines, mean only one button needs to be pushed to do a load once you’ve programmed it.
  • Look for positive feedback like beeps when you push buttons, or other tactile, audio or visual feedback.
  • In dark areas, a backlit liquid crystal display (LCD) can help.

For people with cognitive or memory impairment

  • Look for labelling that’s very clear.
  • Some people might find pictures or graphics more useful than words.
  • Choose appliances with few options for the controls.
  • Appliances with auditory feedback can be a problem if this confuses the user. However, if memory is a problem a machine that sends an end-of-cycle signal could be useful.

Raising front loaders off the floor

If you have a bad back or use a wheelchair, squatting or bending down to load and unload a front loader can be difficult.

To help overcome access problems, you can mount a front loader on a plinth so its door is at waist height. Just make sure the plinth is stable and level, and able to hold the considerable weight of the front loader.

While Fisher & Paykel suggests the weight of the machine is sufficient to secure it on a stand if at least the front feet of the machine have levelling feet that can lock, other manufacturers advise securing the machine with the brackets supplied with the pedestal to prevent it from wobbling off during the spin cycle. Miele, too, advises securing its front loaders with the retaining clips it sells, and recommends the plinth be made of concrete that can support a load of 160 kg - it says its front loaders weigh 30–40% more than other brands’.

There are front loader washer stands available, which raise the washer or dryer about 38cm off the floor, and sometimes have a lockable drawer for storing and can be used with many front loaders.

To install, the stand must first be put into position and made level, and the washer (or dryer) is placed on it. The machine must then be made level, and its feet clamped to the stand at each corner to prevent horizontal movement. Installing the unit takes a fair amount of effort, particularly in tight laundry spaces, but is a one-off task.

CHOICE assessed a stand's ability to handle an unbalanced washing machine by putting it through a spin cycle with an unbalanced load. We repeated this test three times, and duplicated the process with another model. The clamps held firm and neither washer moved out of alignment with the stand. On two occasions the combined unit moved a few millimetres (as a washer on the floor may do), but was easily pushed back into position.

Your say - Choice voice

Make a Comment

Members – Sign in on the top right to contribute to comments